It is not true that cats go towards visitors or strangers who dislike cats. People who dislike or hate cats or are cat-phobic sometimes claim that when visiting a cat owner’s home their cat goes to them while ignoring someone else who likes cats.
This may happen occasionally but I don’t think that it is typical. In fact I can refer to an informal test carried out by Dr Bradshaw, the biologist who wrote the best seller Cat Sense.
Dr Bradshaw says that cats are very sensitive and aware of human body language so my thoughts are that if cats do sometimes migrate towards visitors who dislike cats it may be due to signals given off by these people being misinterpreted or ignored.
But the fact of the matter is that Dr Bradshaw’s test disproves the theory that cats go to cat-phobics. He gathered together a group of men – no women because he could not find women who hated cats – some of whom liked and some who disliked cats. They were asked to sit on a couch and to stay still when the cats came into the room. They were requested to remain still even if a cat jumped up onto their lap.
Dr Bradshaw was unable to prevent the cat-phobics from turning away from the cats. This happened within ten seconds of the cat being seen by the person.
The cats could sense the disposition of the people in the room.
“They rarely approached the cat-phobics preferring to sit near the door and look away from them.”
Bradshaw is insure how the cats detected the difference between the cat lovers and cat-phobics or haters. He surmises that the cats could sense that the cat-phobics were tenser or smelled different or they looked at the cats nervously.
The impression Bradshaw got was that the cats were ‘keenly perceptive’ of the visitors’ demeanour. One of the eight cats, put a spoke into the works so to speak and made a beeline for a cat hater and jumped onto his lap purring loudly. The exception proves the rule I think. It is just that the experience for a cat hater or phobic is profound enough to make it more memorable that a cat turning away and keeping his distance.